ICYMI: Top Stories

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

Top Stories

OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis surprised many with the honesty of his remarks during a presentation on his first six months on the job. Dr. Lewis said we have to “be real” and see New Orleans schools for where they really are. He called it misleading to say OPSB is an “A” district when, if you take just the direct-run (network) schools, OPSB would have a score of 77.7 and would rank 54th in the state. He also said if we expect schools to return to local control, we have to start viewing New Orleans schools as one system. “The most important score this morning is 83.4,” he said, “because that score represents every single school in New Orleans.” View Dr. Lewis’ presentation on his first 180 days.
A coalition of eighty colleges and universities, including all of the Ivy League, is trying to change the college admissions process. They are abandoning the Common Application, and they want students to focus on their portfolio of work beginning in 9th grade. The coalition’s plans include: a free online portfolio system where students can save examples of their best work, descriptions of their extracurricular activities, etc.; new ways for students to interact with colleges and universities, including requests for feedback on their portfolio; and a new online application where each college and university prepares its own essay questions, including questions that are linked to material in the student’s portfolio. The goal is to eliminate some of the frenzy around the application process and help level the playing field for students who don’t have access to school guidance counselors or private admissions experts.

Arne Duncan is stepping down as U.S. Secretary of Education. In his nearly seven years in office, Duncan pushed through unprecedented levels of change in K-12 policy. Former New York State Education Commissioner John King, who is no stranger to controversy, will serve as Acting Secretary until the end of the Obama administration.

Louisiana Headlines

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has released the preliminary average number of points earned by students statewide on the PARCC test and is releasing raw scores for individual students to districts that request them. LDOE’s timeline had been to release the final results in November, but some school officials believe the raw data will help them determine if they need to change curriculum or instruction. To help parents and teachers understand the final individual student results when they are released next month, LDOE has added a suite of parent and teacher resources to its Family Support Toolbox.

LDOE is proposing a one-year contract with its long-time testing vendor to create the standardized assessments that will replace PARCC next spring. In 2016, no more than 49.9 percent of the state test may be made up of PARCC-generated questions, although scores still must be comparable to results from other states.

National Stories

A bill before the North Carolina legislature would authorize a pilot program for a new statewide Achievement School District, modeled after Louisiana’s Recovery School District. In Georgia, plans for an Opportunity School District will be put before the voters in 2016.

The Hechinger Report and the Christian Science Monitor followed New Orleans principal Krystal Hardy through her inaugural year at Slyvanie Williams College Prep elementary to find out how hard the job really is, how it’s changed, and what this reveals about the state of American education. This is part four in the series, which began in November 2014.

Students whose teachers visited them at home to build relationships with their families were less likely to miss school and more likely to read at grade level, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Charter Schools

A Tale of Two School Systems is a thoughtful piece on school governance that looks at Washington, DC’s two public school systems – one traditional and one charter – that are roughly equal in size.

A June 2015 report outlines the Broad Foundation’s eight-year strategy for moving half the students in Los Angeles public schools into charter schools.

Other Local News

Two New Orleans teachers were robbed at gunpoint at 7:00 am, shortly after they arrived for work at Success Preparatory Academy in Mid-City.

Sharon Hunter is the fifth high-profile employee to move from the Jefferson Parish school system to the Orleans Parish school system.

Announcement: Classroom Funding for Teachers

Attention teachers: Chevron is working with DonorsChoose.org again this year to help K-12 teachers in public schools get supplies for eligible public school classroom projects. Submissions will be accepted on DonorsChoose.org until November 15, 2015. The earlier you post your project during the submission period, the better your chances will be to receive funding. See the Fuel Your School website for all the details.

Shout Out!

Einstein Charter Schools has been awarded $5 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation.